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Postpartum Weight Loss: Lose The Baby Fat

by Katlyn Joy | September 9, 2010 12:00 AM
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Postpartum Weight Loss: Lose The Baby Fat

It took nine months to pack on those 25 to 35 recommended pounds, so you should expect it to take several months to shed them, as well. Demanding too much from your body too soon is only setting yourself up for failure and could possibly jeopardize your health.

Breastfeed

Nursing your baby exclusively requires you to add and additional 300 to 500 calories to your diet, but nursing burns 600-800 calories daily. Also, some studies indicate that breastfeeding mothers who don't supplement with formula lose weight faster than those who do not breastfeed.

Drink plenty of water

The time-honored advice of 8 glasses a day is not the guideline, however. Drink to thirst, and note the color of your urine. If it's clear, you are adequately hydrated. Bright yellow indicates you are dehydrated. When you become dehydrated, you may reach for unhealthy drinks and snacks, plus you will feel drained and possibly have headaches.

Stock up on nutritious snacks

Good choices include veggie sticks with a low fat dip, fruit slices frozen for extra crunch, air popped popcorn, pretzels, whole wheat pita chips with hummus or low fat cheese slices. If you have snacks that are healthy as well as easy to grab on the go, you will be more likely to stay on track.

Don't deprive yourself

Having a strict diet to follow especially while adjusting to motherhood is simply too demanding. Make a healthy plan for eating that is reasonable. It's OK to have an occasional indulgence as long as you have an overall healthy pattern of eating.

Calories Count

Make sure you get about 2000 to 2200 calories a day or 2700 if nursing, and make those calories work for you by choosing nutrient-rich foods like lean meats that are high in protein, and milk and yogurt to boost your calcium intake. Also fish is an excellent omega-3 fatty acid food that is recommended for everyone but new moms especially benefit.

Get plenty of sleep

Don't laugh. OK, a full night's sleep may be difficult but those who get less than 5 hours a night have trouble losing weight. And keeping their patience!

Exercise

Aim for 150 minutes a week of aerobic and weight training activity. This may be done in as little as ten minute intervals. Choose physical activity that works into your lifestyle and is baby-friendly unless you have a simple childcare situation. Combining me-time with exercise time may build a positive attitude towards physical activity that will be reinforcing. If you have to go through a gauntlet to get the baby to a sitter, struggle with parking, and pay for gym time, you will be more likely to skip the work out.

Involve baby in exercise

Pack her in the stroller and take off for fifteen brisk walking minutes. Baby will love it, too. Dance with baby and you both benefit. Baby will love the music and interaction, and your body will love you for the moves, lame or otherwise. You can also use baby as an extra weight in lifting, or putting him on your chest while you do sit ups or leg lifts. When baby is old enough, get a baby seat for your bike and hit the bike trail.

Don't skip the stairs or get the closest parking spot. Walk a little more whenever you can and those minutes will add up throughout the week.

Get clearance from your physician before beginning an exercise program post-baby, particularly if you had a cesarean or difficult delivery. If your pounds are not dropping off, even gradually, get the advice of your doctor or a dietician.

Katlyn Joy is a freelance writer, and just graduated with a Master's of Arts in Creative Writing. She is mom to seven children, and lives in Denver, Colorado.

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